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My Fiance and I LOVE to cook!! So naturally that is a love that we would like to pass on to our daughter. Not only is it a good thing for her to learn to cook so she can take care of her self as an adult, but studies have proven that children who help with food preparation are more likely to eat healthy, like their vegetables, and as a result they lead healthier lives as adults. Our daughter is almost 18 months old now and ever since she was really little we have had her watching us cook and we have started to let her help. Since she is too young to handle most things safely she gets to help with measurements and adding toppings to stuff. So far she had helped to make pizza which she LOVED because she could eat the toppings and the toppings are so colorful. She has also helped make snicker doodles and chocolate chip cookies. She really likes being able to scoop and dump the ingredients into the bowl (with assistance obviously) and she of course likes the mess of rolling the dough in the sugar and who doesn't like chocolate chips!!! Any way do you allow your children help with food preparation? Do they enjoy it? Do they have a tendency to eat better when you let them help? What are your favorite things to let your kids make?
Great post Brinny! Homemade pizza is also a hit in our house and the kids both love making it and eating it! We also do a mini salad bar at times to encourage healthy eating as well. Another big night in our house is taco night, where the kids can add their toppings and make their tacos. Sometimes this can backfire when the kids want to get involved when I am dealing with multiple burners on the stove or cutting using my large chef knife, but generally it is great to have them help out. When they don't help with cooking, they get involved with cleaning up after by throwing away garbage and helping put dishes in the dishwasher.
It is fun to let them help me make meatballs (as they get older and won't put the meat in their mouths). My younger kids help me brush butter on the biscuits (its like painting) and they love to make cupcakes and muffins. Even making toast is a production!
There are so many great ways to have kiddos help with cooking. I think that the popularity of cupcakes really lends to this. There are so many different and fun ways to decorate cupcakes, and kiddos can do one or two (short attention span) and feel that they have really contributed. Plus-there are so many different ways to decorate for holidays! Halloween is approaching-how about spider, cobweb and other fall themes?
We used to make Tacos all the time, however since it was one of the few things i could keep down while i was pregnant I am kind of burned out on them and can barely stand the thought of tacos anymore. Meatballs is a really good one too. I can see how it would be really fun for the kids to roll them into balls and it is one of those tasks that you can have a few children working at the same time. In addition to meals we really like baking sweet treats, but we don't want to limit our daughters helping in the kitchen to making the sweets that she already loves to eat. I think our overall goal with our daughter is to help her recognize different things in their raw state and teach her how to put them together with other things to make tasty dishes. That isn't to say parents should be naive to the fact that kids will still most likely reject some foods, but i am hopeful that the process of knowing what something is and her being able to go through the process of taking a raw product to a finished product will help her with enjoying a well rounded diet, and possibly even proud to eat her finished creation... VS us forcing her to eat her dinner every night. I have also heard that allowing children to help with growing a vegetable garden can help with their recognition of vegetables and help them get excited to eat them as well. Hazel isn't old enough to really understand that yet, but it doesn't hurt to start early.
My kids LOVE to help and they are FAR more likely to eat when they do! I have to say, letting them pick out fruit at the store make it more likely for them to eat it too! I let my little one push the buttons for the blender whenever a recipe calls for that. I also let him help dump in dry ingredients for things and put stuff into an extra big bowl so he can stir without spilling stuff all over. Also, if I chop up something, he loves to take the slices and put them in the bowl for me, etc. Good job with Hazel!!